by Tammy Honaman, Author, Jewelry-Making Expert and Educator,
Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®

The start of the New Year always brings about the "selling season" for many of us who sell our finished jewelry. All year we pick up those items "we have to have" and now it's time to put all of those special buys to good use - making jewelry and then making money! One key to great success with this is starting well enough in advance.

At the end of the year I forced myself to write a plan, which I'm happy to share with you in case you're in the same boat.
  • Establish how much jewelry you are going to make.
    • I do not consign my work currently so the size of my finished-jewelry inventory is based on the following:
      • Hosting a jewelry party and the number of invites that will go out to friends and acquaintances.
      • Knowing that this year I will be selling through Etsy to reach those who live too far from my home to attend a jewelry party.
      • A guesstimate on how many pieces each person will purchase--some of which is based on previous year's sales trends and some on instinct.
Note: If you consign your work, or have your own gallery, having last year's figure of "jewelry sold" along with the number of jewelry artists sharing the same space as your work will give you the foundation for a formula to start from: XX pieces sold/jewelry artists = how many pieces each jeweler might sell. Obtaining any other sales figures from the storeowner, expected traffic over the holiday season, along with special events planned, knowing if you could do a trunk show where you are the only jeweler featured one night or one weekend, etc. will help toward your analysis.
  • Order components, findings, chain and clasps so there are plenty of the "must haves" on hand to meet the planned amount of designs. On my list:
    • Clasps for the amount of necklaces and bracelets planned.
    • Jumprings in various sizes to meet planned needs, and then some (since I always run out).
    • Chain in all colors because chain is still all the rage and no matter the design, chain should be in it!
    • Earwires in volume enough to equal one pair of earrings per necklace or bracelet planned, as well as 50 pairs for those last-minute purchases.
    • Headpins to create the earrings with as well as for all the beaded drops that I seem to include in everything I do, even if it's just on the last jumpring of a chainmaille bracelet.
  • Set up components for personalizing so custom orders can be made on the spot or shortly after the event:
    • This year, personalized jewelry is in demand! And what better way to ensure I can make charms with fingerprints as well as include the names and/or year of birth? Metal clay is the key!
    • And for those personalized pet tags? Metal clay will work here too as will sterling silver stampings. Impress names, symbols and numbers onto the stampings with metal punches and a hammer. In a few minutes you've made a special gift as well as a quick sale.
  • Set up the "display" to see what is needed, as well as assess wrapping and packaging needs. Doing this in advance allows items to be shipped via ground delivery.
    • The "key" to a successful display is ensuring the displays do not compete with the jewelry yet create a feel that is pleasing to the eye, offers visual contrast, establishes a special spot for any "over-the-top" designs as well as offers a variety of heights and depth so everyone sees each design.
    • The key to a successful closing of a sale is to treat the design with the greatest care possible so your customer feels they made the right choice as well as sees that you value your work as much as they do.
For example, consider placing a pair of earrings (along with rubber ear nuts if the earrings are made with French earwires) into a zip-top bag (to prevent tarnish) then into a gift box; loosely wrapping the box in a flourish of tissue; and then tucking that all into a nice bag. Handing this presentation along with your sales slip will make the purchase that much sweeter.

With all of the planning in order, all that is left to do is to create, send out the invites, then have fun, sell lots and enjoy your success as well as your party!


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